Star Trail Photography in Time-lapse Form Using Stacked Exposures

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There really are no words to describe these two featured time-lapse creations by Gavin Heffernan of Sunchaser Pictures, but if we had to pick just one, it would probably be mesmerizing. What is most impressive is that no special effects were used at all, the effects seen here are naturally created by the rotation of the earth. In the first video, aptly titled “Sunchaser Star Trails”, the stars literally create colorful patterns and trails in the sky, while the foreground objects remain motionless and usually silhouetted. The effect is very interesting:

The second video is just as great – watch as a storm comes and goes, leaving a clear star-lit sky. He created both videos with almost all of the same equipment and camera settings, read on to find out how he did it!

Gavin reiterates,

“No special effects of any kind used, just natural rotation of the Earth’s axis.”

Night Sky Timelapse Star Effects

Amazing, isn’t it?  I wonder if I’m the only one who was reminded of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” when I saw this Still Photograph?

We learn that Gavin uses long, 25 second exposure, ISO 3200, and the following equipment:

Gavin uses the same equipment for both of the featured videos. In the beginning of the second video, a 30 second exposure is used, but otherwise the techniques are very similar between these particular projects. I know you’re wondering, where did he find such clear skies far from any city lights? The Star Trails video was shot in Big Bear Lake and Joshua Tree, California. The second was shot primarily in Joshua Tree as a storm came in and then cleared away.

Night Sky Timelapse Stars

From the first Star Trails Video.

Stormy Night Star Timelapse

From the second Storm video.

Gavin told us more about the Star Trails video,

“The video is actually all made up of photographs — most with 25 second exposures — shot with Canon 5D. The star shots are then ‘stacked’ together, using QuickTime Pro and a new program called STARSTAX”

These images are stunning as stills, to see them combined together to create a time-lapse is beyond description. Gavin has done such amazing work that we will certainly be eagerly awaiting his next project.

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